My attempt at playing the Too Utterly Too Clog Dance from Albert Baur's, The Banjoist's Budget, published in the late 19th century

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Comment by Joel Hooks on April 9, 2018 at 14:15

Hi David, since you asked for constructive feedback will oblige.

You are playing all the correct notes for their proper duration.  That is very good and the biggest part of learning.  You also sound musical!

I notice that you are not using alternate fingering.  On pieces like this you can get away with it. But if you want to play with any velocity now would be the time to focus on it.  Alternate fingering also "cleans up" the playing, allowing for a nice and smooth flow of notes. It is really the key to playing classic banjo.

Tone.  Move your right hand back closer to the bridge, striking the strings with your fingers about 1 to 2 inches away from it.  Work on striking the strings across without hooking.  Focus on using the pad of the fingertip, your fingernails should be kept trimmed short enough to support your fingertips but not actually touch the strings.  Work on playing with a strong right hand.  Practice with a mute or towel stuffed in the back so that you get stronger. This is a trick that many of the classic era pros used.  You will play confidently and won't hold back thinking it is too loud.  When you remove the mute you will blow people away with tone and volume. 

Nice work and please don't hold back from posting!

Comment by david caron on April 9, 2018 at 14:43


About the alternate fingering, but I'm getting better at it, especially when the notes are played on the 1st string, and even on the third string, by using my index finger and my thumb however, I find it a bit more challenging when it needs to be done on the second string. I need to watch the tutorial videos again.

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